This blogspot is a medium to share my thoughts and adventures apart from promoting my books. Below are the books which have been written or authored and published by myself.

"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Mencari Diri dan Erti".

ISBN 983-42031-0-1, Jun 2006

"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Membela Syiar yang Asal"

ISBN 983-42031-1-x, May 2007

"Berpetualang ke Aceh: Sirih Pulang ke Gagang?"

ISBN 978-983-42031-2-2, November 2007

It is interesting to note that while these books were written in Malay it has gained enough attention to merit being part of the collections of the American Library of Congress and National Library of Australia. Look here and here.

While the first three books were published by my own company, the fourth titled "Rumah Azan" was published in April 2009 by a company called Karnadya with the help of the Malaysian national literary body Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka. It features beautiful pictures along with stories behind selected mosques which could be related to the history of Islam and the Malays alongside the formation of the Malaysian nation. Look at the article A collaboration of old collegemates - the book "Rumah Azan".

My fifth book "Ahlul Bait (Family) of Rasulullah SAW and Malay Sultanates", an English translation and adaptation of the Malay book "Ahlul Bait (Keluarga) Rasulullah SAW dan Kesultanan Melayu" authored by Hj Muzaffar Mohamad and Tun Suzana Othman was published early 2010. Look here... My 5th book is out! Ahlul Bait (Family) of Rasulullah SAW and the Malay Sultanates... . For more information check out my Malay blogspot CATATAN SI MERAH SILU.

Like my fourth book "Rumah Azan", the sixth book "Kereta Api Menuju Destinasi" is also a coffee-table book which is published by the company Karnadya with the cooperation of Dewan Bahasa dan Pustaka (the main Malay literary body in Malaysia). Coming out January 2011 it features pictures and stories on the adventure travelling by train to all of Peninsular Malaysia along with the interesting places which could be reached this way.

My seventh book "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah" in turn is a coffee-table book which is written, editted, designed and has pictures taken by me. Coming out of the factory October 2011, this book which combines family history with history of places such as Singapura, Johor, Batu Pahat, Muar and in fact the history of the island of Java and England has been reviewed with me interviewed live in the program Selamat Pagi Malaysia at RTM1. Look at the article Siaran langsung ulasan buku "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah" dan temu ramah di Selamat Pagi Malaysia. Some selected contents have been featured in Sneak peek "Jejak keluarga Yakin : Satu sketsa sejarah".


The "Berpetualang ke Aceh" series of novels could be obtained in e-book form. Enter http://www.e-sentral.com/, click general novel and go to page 4. You can also type the word "Aceh" at the search box. Or click straight Book 1, Book 2 and Book 3.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A bicycle race and the sacred number 313

Last Sunday I was on the way to Kuala Lumpur to attend the last day of the 2009 Kuala Lumpur International Book Fest when my wife insisted we stopped at a place in Rawang to photocopy a document of hers. Since she wanted to make 100 copies, it would take a bit of time. Thus we decided to have breakfast at a restaurant across the road. That's when we noticed the road was suddenly cleared.

What happened was the cyclists for the ongoing Jelajah Malaysia (exploring Malaysia) race were passing this way. Thus the road, at least this part of the road was closed for a good 10 minutes or so.

This reminded me of the time I followed the first Jelajah Malaysia, I can't remember properly was it in the year 2000 or 2001. Back then, the race which covered major roads all around the Peninsular was fully conducted by the police... thus it had a lot of backing from all quarters including five-star hotels which I believed wanted to be in the good books of the police.
I was then still a sports journalists with the major English daily The New Straits Times. Me and a few others were whisked all around the distance over a period of more than a week via a dedicated van manned by 2 or 3 dedicated police personnels. We stayed at the best hotels and treated like VIPs. Why, even operators of night-clubs we happened to visit at tried their best to please us... upon realising the identity of our entourage which included top police investigators and their likes as in the CID.
The memory made me wanted to take the pictures above and weave it into a story. As it turned out, this article is my 313rd posting in this blogspot and the number 313 has a lot of significances in Islamic history.
For the record 313 is the number of early Muslims who along with Prophet Muhammad SAW fought againts the unbelieving Quraish of Mecca in the battle of Badr, the first battle between the Muslims and their enemies. 313 is also said to be number of persons in the army of Talut against Jalut, or as written in the Bible, army of Saul againts that of Goliath, in the time of the Prophet Daud or David. In Islam, 313 is the total number of messengers God sent throughout the history of mankind while the prophets numbered 124,000. 313 is also the number of the main walis or saints and this number is maintained until the end of time with each deceased wali replaced by a newly appointed one. That's all! :]

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Remembering the "A" Level college days. Drama night - Enter Johnderella!

Just a pix of a junior school drama night nicked from the Internet...

In the comments section of the article Remembering the "A" Level college days. My lecture class, group J , an old friend suggested that I write about our class play titled Johnderella for the college's drama night. Actually, I already have that in mind, it's just a matter of when. Now, I think it's a good time to try remembering our play. Here goes nothing...

OK. I'm having problems remembering when the drama night was actually conducted. So let me try to get some timelines clear, as much as I could remember ya. Why, I couldn't even remember the exact month when I first got into the PPP/ITM "A" Levels programme. But I could safely say this, it started sometime in the second-half of the year 1988 as we were chosen based on our good results for our SPM examinations which we took while in Form Five at secondary schools, end of 1987.

We received our SPM results sometime in February 1987 or so and only after that we got busy looking and applying for prospective universities to continue our studies at. But the system is such that there's no way we could go to university straight except through matriculation programmes or the "A" Levels, both considered intermediate level of studies or college level between secondary schooling and university. Since at this stage, students are taught to get ready for university level of study arrangements, we started following the semester system as opposed to the term system used during our schooldays. Thus the "A" Levels programmes must have started after the mid-year holidays and that must be after June or at the latest August or so I think.

The next batch of "A" Level students, that is Batch 8 (remember, mine is Batch 7) must have come at about the same time but in 1989 a year later. The drama night I'm trying to remember involved mainly my batch... there could have been involvement from our seniours in Batch 6 but I couldn't remember that very well. Whatever, it was too early to be conducted in 1988 itself as we students were barely gelling together in our groups. So I suppose it must have been conducted sometime early 1989, perhaps in March or so...

Anyway, there we were, some of us from Group J hanging out in class when someone mentioned about the upcoming drama night. Azmil @ Tonga already had a drama script brought from his schooldays titled Johnderella and we agreed to make it work.

Now, Johnderella (as the name might suggest) is sort of a male version of the classic fairytale Cinderella. The story is basically the same except for a different background mainly created to support a story which is more of a comedy. Without much further thought, in fact without any thought I think, the guys and girls elected for me to be the hero Johnderella. Why? Maybe because then I fit the stereotypical description of hunk that should be a hero, hehe! Well, it might seem like I'm just praising myself but those who knew me from those days would mostly agree except for the sour grapes, again hehehe! :]

Here's the basic storyline. Johnderella lived with his two step-brothers and a stepmother. Being the son of deceased mother which the stepmother despised (and being a better looking person too), he was often bullied and forced to do all the housework which he duly obliged.

OK. Now I'm having trouble remembering the script. Did we have a dancing ball just like in Cinderella? Was there any princess looking for a prospective suitor as is the case but for the opposite sex reflecting the famous fairy-tale? What I could remember is there was an event but Johnderella was prohibited from leaving the house. So a Godfather (instead of the fairy godmother in Cinderella) came to help him get a better life.

The two stepbrothers were played by Amin @ Mangor and... now I remember another class-mate from Group J, Bad or Badrul. I can't remember who played the stepmother but the Godfather was a cool Tonga. So Johnderella was left behind as the brothers attended the event which I couldn't remember exactly what except there was to be a boxing match (or rather a few boxing matches) in which the final winner will get to marry the princess.

For the whole drama, I could remember me, Mangor and Bad having to wear shorts and short-sleeved shirts with sports shoes to match. I must admit I am actually a bad actor. Not that I couldn't act at all. It's just I liked to soak up the attention that I couldn't help giggling and making faces while sweeping the floor as the guys and gals watching from down the stage made signals and returned the smiles.

OK, I think the Godfather came to release me from being stuck in the house and handed me a pair of magic gloves. With that, I attended the boxing matches and had to fight my stepbrothers Bad and then Mangor to claim the main prize. Hmm... I also remember Utoi playing the palace official who made the announcement for the fight. I remember the fight being staged in three different modes - normal, fast forward motion and slow motion - and that managed to extract plenty of laughter from the audience.

So came the time for me as Johnderella to claim the prize. Came the princess (played by the Chinese-looking Ipoh girl, her name was Lina or something like that) daintily walking with a veil or her face. The veil was opened. Lo and behold the princess giggling with plenty of large red spots on her face as Johnderella fainted, doomed with the fate of being stuck with such a 'looker'.

As it turned out, the Johnderella drama staged by Group J won a few prizes. If I remember correctly, we won either third or second in the overall category. That category was won by one of the law classes which staged a very serious drama hinging on the question of innocence, sin, life and death. The main person of that drama, and actress was Az, the first girl to get real close to me during the "A" Level days (see Remembering the "A" Level college days. Start of the disco fun and girls... ).

Az won the best actress for the whole drama night. Azmil @ Tonga the best supporting actor. Me, the main actor of the Group J play was nowhere within the polls. Nevertheless I totally enjoyed playing the male Cinderella and with that I end this installment of "Remembering the "A" Level college days". Cheers! :]